This man, author of The Long Emergency (a fine and chilling introduction to a few of the issues discussed here), has a weekly blogpost/commentary on the passing scene. His latest is exceptional and not the sort of stuff you're likely to hear in the happy-talk media. Excerpt:
"The current mania to expand legalized gambling around the country is a clear symptom of how desperate and crazy this society has become. In a culture where anything goes and nothing matters, it is perhaps hard for the public to understand what's wrong with it. The gambling "industry" itself has very successfully masked its pernicious nature by putting across the idea that it is just another form of innocent "entertainment," on a par with pro sports, theme parkery, and Hollywood. In fact, gambling, or "gaming," as it cynically calls itself, has hijacked elements of all these other activities to conceal its main business, which is the systematic hosing of those who can least afford to be hosed.
What's wrong with state-sponsored gambling is simple: it promotes the idea -- inconsistent with the realities of the universe -- that it's possible to get something for nothing. It is unhealthy to an extreme for a society to make this idea normal because it defeats another idea that a society absolutely depends on for survival -- namely that earnest effort matters. It conditions the public to magical thinking -- a characteristic of children-- and disables their ability to function as adults. The expansion of gambling is especially tragic at a time when this society faces epochal economic problems that threaten its existence, and by this I mean the permanent global energy crisis that will require us to reorganize virtually all the crucial activities of daily life. This is a time when the nation can least afford to disable adult thinking and earnest effort." (emphasis Chaos')
Chaos has often thought that the nature of the issues rapidly approaching demands the absolute best thinking, and most assuredly not the dysfunctional business as usual approach. Corrollary: irrational, magical thinking crowds out rational responses. In light of these premises, now view the culture of the US as it really is: celebrity-obsessed, crazily religious, media-saturated, and optimistic without basis. Shiver, readers.